This one is from my road warrior days but it deserves a post.
I had occasion to visit LA (Lower Alabama) once. Before I left a friend warned me that I would hear a lot “ya’ll aren’t from around are ya, boy” I was in town about an hour and a half, when I first heard that. I was in a coffee shop that wasn’t busy at the moment when the waitress said “Ya’ll aren’t from around are ya?” I figured that I was a state away from where that “Mississippi Burning” thing happened so I wasn’t worried. Maybe it was obvious because I was wearing my favorite Hawaiian shirt. I said no and she asked where I was from. I said Fresno CA. I figured she wouldn’t know where Selma CA. was. You know what? She once lived in Reedley CA. not 20 miles from my home. Anyway she said “Oh, I thought maybe you came up here from Mobile”. Later I met Harold Parker and after the obligatory “ya’ll aren’t from around are ya, boy”, He showed me around and explained how NAFTA had crippled his little town. There was row after row of empty buildings that were once sewing factories until NAFTA caused closure as the jobs went to Mexico.
Where was I going with this? Oh yeah “bold peanuts” I was told by this friend that the local snack food was “bold peanuts”. He said they were disgusting but what would he know he’s British and they eat some pretty nasty stuff liked “jugged meat”. Anyway, Harold told me that the best “bold peanuts” were to be had at Jimmy Flowers’ bait shop. So I chugged on over to the bait shop. Now that was a cool place with a bench along the back that had been worn smooth by countless local fisherman that had slid down the bench while talking about the big ones that had gotten away. I asked Jimmy if he had any “bold peanuts” He said “They ain’t ready yet”. I asked “when”. He said “soon”. I slunk off and considered just looking for a bottle of pop and some pork rinds. But I went back later and there was a line of cars waiting for their “bold peanuts”. I waited my turn and when it was my turn Jimmy says “I didn’t think you’d come back”. And once again I got the “ya’ll aren’t from around are ya, boy”. I said “Jimmy I’ve come 2500 miles to taste bold peanuts”. He says “ya know I always heard California was the land of the fruits and the nuts and now I know that at least they’s nuts livin’ there”. Anyway, he opened the top of his kettle and dipped me out a generous portion in a large paper cup. He showed me how to first squeeze the end and suck out the salty water. BOILED PEANUTS were wonderful. They’re kinda like the edamame that I grew up eatng way before it became trendy. I’ve tried making them myself a couple times since but you have to start with green peanuts before they are dried to get it right and those aren’t readily available out here. Someday I’m going to plant some just so I can give it another shot. If you’re ever in Georgia, the Carolinas, or Alabama, you gotta try’em. Just be ready for a lot of “ya’ll aren’t from around are ya, boy” And if you make it to LA you gotta drop by Enterprise, Alabama to see the only known memorial to an insect, the boll weevil.`